August 17, 2023

Farmers Market Wedge Salad With Shepherd’s Way “Best” Blue Cheese Dressing

For our first episode of “Taste Buds,” we went to the Burnsville Farmers Market, where we met Macy, our friends at Utecht Home Grown Pork, and the cheesemakers at Shepherds Way Farms. 

Our first stop was getting the Blue Cheese at Shepherds Way Farms. Shepherd’s Way Farms is a family-owned farm in Minnesota, USA, known for producing artisanal sheep’s milk cheeses. “Big Woods Blue” is one of their renowned cheeses. It’s a blue cheese that is carefully crafted using traditional methods. Jodi Ohlsen Read makes Shepherd’s Way Farms’ award-winning sheep milk cheeses by hand in small batches on the Read family farm.  Among the first farmstead sheep milk cheesemakers, Shepherd’s Way began crafting and marketing its first cheese, Friesago in 1998. A second cheese, Shepherd’s Hope, was introduced in 1999, and the sought-after Big Woods Blue was added in 2003. 

We next met the Utecht family and bought their bacon, Utecht’s homegrown pork! .  What started as a county fair 4-H project with their boys has now grown to around 400 pigs at their farm.  It all began when their boys asked to raise a couple of pigs for the county fair.  Their dad explained to them how it was important not only to sell the pig at the county fair but also to know what it takes to raise a pig from when they are born to when they are ready to eat.   They raise Hereford and Hereford Cross pigs, a heritage breed and a cross between a Duroc and a Poland China pig.  They raise this breed because of their mild-mannered behavior and meat that has excellent marbling and taste.  They don’t feed their pigs any animal by-products and do not use any antibiotics or growth hormones, which is very uncommon in the pig industry. The bacon was perfect!


Farmers Market Wedge Salad With Shepherd's Way Blue Cheese Dressing

Farmers Market Wedge Salad With Shepherd's Way Blue Cheese Dressing

Yield: 4

The local farmers market has everything you need for a beautiful farm-fresh wedge salad drizzled with the best blue cheese dressing.


For the Salad

  • 1 head very fresh iceberg lettuce, outer leaves removed
  • 1 red ripe tomato chopped into 1/2 inch squares
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and cooled to room temperature

For the dressing

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 ounces Shepherds Way Big Woods Blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon, juice
  • 1 Tablespoon chives sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper


Make The Dressing

  1. Make the dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to combine the flavors.

Make The Bacon

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Then place bacon on a cooling rack on a lined, rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Cook the bacon for about 20 minutes or until it reaches your desired doneness.
  4. Let Cool

Make The Salad

  1. Slice the head of lettuce in half through the center of the stump. Slice each half into two wedges, again through the stump.
  2. Place each wedge on a plate. Spoon a generous amount of blue cheese dressing over the lettuce. Top with the reserved blue cheese, sliced tomatoes, and crumbled bacon.
  3. Finish with cracked black pepper.
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